HTC phone with Google's homepage displayed

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By now, you have probably heard that Google will be shifting their indexing algorithm to take mobile-friendliness into account when ranking a website. Mobile-friendly sites will see an increase in ranking, while unfriendly sites will see a decrease. This is a pretty huge change, but it’s clear why Google is moving in this direction.

Mobile data traffic is expected to increase by 300% by 2017 (that number does not include tablet traffic, by the way), and Google has a mission to make the web better for everyone. If you have a mobile device, dear reader, I probably don’t have to tell you that some websites are still behind the times, and using their website on your device is likely more trouble than it’s worth. And so it makes sense that Google intends to light a fire under the feet of the slow adopters.

Google has created several tools you can use right now to make sure you’re prepared for the change.

  • Google published a list of common mistakes mobile publishers make.
  • You can run your site through this checker to see how favorably Google views your site. It will give you a screenshot of the homepage as Google bot will see it as well.
  • Webmaster Tools has a per-page analysis of your site, so you can get into the nitty-gritty of what usability improvements you can make and how many pages are affected.

You can also peruse through the series on mobile-friendliness that I wrote, starting with why you should be mobile-friendly (this post also suggests some goals you might set for your going-mobile effort), and ending with responsive design.

Are you ready for Google’s algorithm change? Are you ignoring it, going responsive, or using some other approach?

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